Student accommodation and brand. What do Gen Z think?

After price and location, what’s the elusive third factor when it comes to choosing a student accommodation brand?

Youth Forum by The Property Marketing Strategists (TPMS) | PBSA News

The Property Marketing Strategists (TPMS), a property consultancy, together with partners Dig In and sponsors The Crowd Agency, have released the latest Youth Forum results. It found that 49% of students feel connected to a brand due to the staff they engage with, whilst only 10% of respondents cite sustainability a decision-making factor.  

The position of brand in student accommodation has very little research behind it until now. The latest Youth Forum covers how brand influences decision-making. From the brands most recognised in the sector, to whether hotel-style brands in student accommodation are in demand, there is a lot to unpack in the latest research.  

“We have had long discussions on the power of brand. Many believe that price and location is the only driver and how you package that up bears no weight on customer choice. As marketers we know that a good brand will encapsulates all that your product has to offer including price and location and we wanted to use our Youth Forum survey and focus group to delve deeper into how brand and choice play out with customers.”

Deenie Lee, Co-founder of The Property Marketing Strategists

The Youth Forum survey of nearly 1,000 respondents of current students in their 1st – 5th year living in a range of settings followed by an online focus group, resulted in a range of insights revealing feelings of mistrust and scepticism if brands get it wrong.  

“I think one frustrating thing about discounts with student accommodation is that they’ll always offer cashback right towards the end of term. I think if they maybe do that at the start then they’ll get more people wanting to stay in their property.”

Lucy, Focus group participant

“I would say these hotel style, student accommodations are unnecessary because they have been created for a niche market. You don’t need all these unnecessary amenities.”

Fezhan, Focus group participant

Primary Findings:  

  • 93% of participants cited price, and 73% highlighted location as crucial factors when choosing accommodation.
  • 48% of students expressed they’d consider living with the same accommodation brand in different cities.
  • 67% of students feel more connected to brands offering superior customer service.
  • Unite, IQ, and Student Roost were the most recognised student accommodation brands.
  • Social media accounted for 13% of the brand connection feeling for students.
  • 39% of students feel connected to student accommodation brands due to their values.

“We know that consumers worldwide recognise brands like Patagonia, Apple, and John Lewis. Youth marketers will always mention the power of brands, so we know it has weight with customers but do students have specific ideas of what defines a brand when it comes to their accommodation?”

Sarah Canning, Co-founder of The Property Marketing Strategists

Access the full report and focus group soundbites.